Parks News

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Please note:  our programs may be subject to changes based on the latest Public Health Orders and to ensure safety of participants and RDCO staff. 

 

Final two rDCO parks reopen and propane BBQ's - September 17, 2021

As seasonal weather conditions return, the region’s fire hazard has decreased.  In light of this, two RDCO parks that were closed as to assist those fighting the Mt. Law and White Rock Lake wildfires are once again open.

Visitors are welcome again at Coldham Regional Park and Killiney Beach Community Park.

As well, with the reduced fire danger and appropriate safety precautions, propane fuel barbeques are allowed again in all RDCO parks.  Visitors are reminded that Charcoal and briquette barbeques along with smoking, vaping, fires or open flames are not allowed any time in regional parks or RDCO community parks.

If you see a fire in any of our parks, immediately call 9-1-1 to report it.

The Regional District thanks all residents for their support in keeping Regional and Community parks safe during this summer’s extreme conditions.

There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover in 30 regional and 20 RDCO community parks.  Find all the locations at rdco.com/pickapark.  

For more information contact Parks Services at 250-469-6232 or email parks@rdco.com.

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Weekend kokanee salmon interpretation - september 10, 2021

The turning leaves and ripening fruit means it’s that time of year to learn about the land-locked cousin of the Sockeye. Kokanee spawning season has begun!

Each weekend until October 10, park interpreters will be on-site at Mission Creek and Hardy Falls Regional Parks from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Every Saturday and Sunday, these experts will help you discover the importance of the fall spawning phenomenon and the life cycle of Kokanee salmon. Bring your questions and gain some fishy knowledge!

For everyone’s safety, please continue to practice physical distancing when visiting our regional parks.  As well, be alert for bears and other wildlife and remember that people and pets should stay out of area creeks.

For more information visit the Regional District website, rdco.com/parksevents, or you can contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

The Regional District offers more than 2,100 hectares of parkland including 74 kilometres of formal trails in 30 regional parks for visitors to safely explore while practicing physical distancing.  Visit rdco.com/pickapark to plan your next outing.

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Bear watch underway in rDCO parks - september 10, 2021

With ripening fruit in Central Okanagan orchards and vineyards and spawning Kokanee salmon returning to streams, as expected reports and sightings of bears is increasing.

“This is the time of year that our field staff and visitors to Central Okanagan Regional Parks start seeing more signs that bears are around” says RDCO communications officer Bruce Smith.  “As sightings and evidence of their presence rise, we post signs in affected parks identifying that bears may be active in the area.”

He says “If possible visitors should travel in a group and make some noise to alert any bears to your presence.  As the fall Kokanee salmon spawning season ramps up visitors may encounter bears bulking up on this food source in local creeks and streams.  Bears fishing for food may not hear you over the noise of the creek water.   If you see a bear, give it plenty of space and stay well away from it.”  Also please keep children and pets out of spawning streams.

It’s important to raise your bear awareness at this time of year in order to avoid encounters with as bears can be aggressive, especially when defending their food or their cubs.  Bears also have excellent senses of smell and hearing and better sight than you might believe.  Unless otherwise designated, dog owners are reminded their pets must be leashed and kept on trails at all times in order to avoid any potentially serious wildlife encounter. (Safety Guide to Wildlife in Regional Parks)

The RDCO Waste Reduction Office and WildSafeBC Central Okanagan remind all residents to reduce potential human-bear conflicts by securely storing any garbage and only placing their garbage cart out on the morning of their regular curbside collection.  That helps to prevent attracting bears or other wildlife.  WildSafeBC has more tips for bear awareness and wildlife safety on properties.

When visiting RDCO parks please follow current pandemic health regulations.  There are 74 kilometers of formal trails in 30 regional parks, many of which are naturally protected forested areas and may contain natural hazards.   Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information. 

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Gellatly Nut farm harvest and sales - september 8, 2021

For the second year in a row, COVID-19 is affecting fundraising nut sales at Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park.  The first hazelnuts of the season are already falling to the ground and ready to be purchased.

The proceeds are used by the non-profit Gellatly Nut Farm Society to assist with upkeep and improvements in the popular four-hectare waterfront regional park and working nut orchard off Whitworth Road in West Kelowna.

In light of the ongoing pandemic health and safety restrictions, Society volunteers will not initially open the nut house store this year.  Any change for October and November will be based on health guidelines at the time.  Instead, anyone wishing to purchase nut varieties are asked to self-harvest:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands before and after nut harvesting
  • Wear a mask and keep at least two metres between yourself and others in the orchard and park
  • Bring your own bags
  • Pick from the ground only.  Please do not climb trees. Nuts fall to the ground when they are ripe and ready for harvest
  • Cost:
    • Small bucket (one pound): $5.00
    • Large bucket (four pounds): $20.00
  • Payment must be made by either:
    • E-transfers to nutfarm@shaw.ca (Payments made this way will be automatically accepted – no need for a security question)
    • Cash must be deposited into the payment box at the house near the Whitworth Road park entrance.  The Society is unable to accept any other form of payment.

Nuts that are not paid for upon leaving the Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park, may result in a $500 fine under the Regional Parks bylaw 1427.

Anyone that would like to purchase a special wood bowl or cutting board made from orchard wood is asked to contact the Society at 250-470-0999 or 250-768-5960.

For more information about the park, nut harvest and Nut Use and Care visit rdco.com/gellatlynutfarm.

The Regional District maintains and operates 30 regional parks and 20 RDCO community parks for residents to safely enjoy. Find all the locations at rdco.com/pickapark.  There are more than 2,100 hectares of parkland available to discover in RDCO parks including 74 kilometres of formal regional park trails for visitors to use while practicing physical distancing.

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Canada-BC Grant helps build out access to regional park

Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park will become more accessible, thanks to a large infrastructure grant.

Under the Canada-BC Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, the two senior governments will contribute almost $715,000 towards new features in the 640-hectare regional park.   The Park protects cultural assets as well as a unique Okanagan grassland habitat.

The federal government is contributing $390,000; the BC government $324,967, while the Regional District of Central Okanagan will provide $260,033 for a project that will build community inclusiveness, stewardship and connectivity within the regional park.

RDCO Chair Gail Given says “This is an exciting investment in our community and the largest of our 30 regional parks. The funds will help us realize one of the Regional Board’s Strategic Priorities to provide residents with greater opportunities to connect with nature in the Central Okanagan.”

Westbank First Nation Chief Chris Derickson says “lim ləmt, thank you, to both levels of government for investing in our culturally significant sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park, including, as part of the Regional Park Management Plan, improved access, safety, and information for its visitors. As stewards of the land, protecting areas of environmental and cultural significance is crucial to ensuring that these lands remain intact for future generations to visit, appreciate, and learn from.”

The Regional District and Westbank First Nation co-manage the protected 640-hectare regional park which is a significant cultural, historic and geographic namesake landmark.  It’s home to at least nine endangered or threatened species and ecological communities including grassland, open Ponderosa pine and grassland savanna. The park is vital to the syilx/Okanagan people for its wide variety of animals, plants and medicines along with resources for tool making found in the area. In nsyilxcín (in-SEALK-chin - Okanagan language), sntsk‘il’ntən (sins–te– KEEL–ten) translates to “the place where arrowheads/flint rock is found”.

The funds will be used to build three, new multi-use trails including one leading to the summit of Black Mountain.  In addition, important park amenities will be constructed:

  • washrooms
  • parking areas at Joe Rich Road and Swainson Road
  • information and kiosk signage
  • guard rail fences

The work is anticipated to begin this fall and be completed by summer 2022.

It’s expected an official park opening will take place this fall and while work in the park is still underway, some of the park is open now. The current temporary access to Black Mountain - sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park is through an off-street parking area on Tower Ranch Drive and the City of Kelowna Tower Ranch Mountain park.  The Swainson Road access is currently closed while the Black Mountain Irrigation District installs a new water main.  Residents are asked to stay on the trail so natural areas are not disturbed.

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Regional parks Goes Quietly Green

There’s a new vehicle travelling around Central Okanagan regional parks.  What makes this news is that it is the first electric vehicle in the parks fleet.  Nicknamed ‘Casper’ for its ghost-like quietness don’t be surprised if it suddenly appears while you’re out enjoying nature in our regional parks.  The quietness and no exhaust features of the electric vehicle supports one of the goals of our Regional Parks Mission Statement to protect the environment.  The vehicle’s size was an important reason for purchasing it.  Its 53 inch narrow width means the truck is able to cross all our bridge structures along the Mission Creek Greenway and as well as in many of our other regional parks.

 

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Discovery Backpacks

Grab a backpack filled with equipment to discover the secrets of Mission Creek Regional Park.

For a suggested $2 donation, sign out a Discovery Backpack at the EECO. Choose your adventure from the themes Pond Exploration, Forest Walk, Mini Beasts and Kokanee and explore the park!

Check it out at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The EECO is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For more information on this and other EECO programs, check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’, visit the Regional District website (regionaldistrict.com/parksevents) or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

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Washouts Close Section of the Mission creek Greenway

At least two washout slides have forced the closure of a section of the Mission Creek Greenway.  

The Pinnacle Trail loop past the KLO Creek Bridge, the Black Bear Trail along Mission Creek and the upper Greenway Trail leading to the Hydraulic Creek trail-end are closed until further notice while staff assesses damage, stability and possible repairs that will be required.  View Map

For safety reasons, the Regional District of Central Okanagan urges Greenway users to respect the barricades and trail closed signs posted at the KLO Creek Bridge (downstream from Field Road entrance).

Regional Parks staff is continuing to monitor creek levels along the entire length of the Mission Creek Greenway recreational corridor. With creeks expected to continue rising due to the recent weather and with spring runoff, people are reminded that water levels may rise unexpectedly and they, children and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.

Boaters and those using Okanagan Lake boat launches are advised to watch for floating debris that may enter the lake as a result of the runoff.

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There's a Trail for Everyone!

The Regional District is making it easier for people to get out and enjoy trails through our Regional Parks.

Seven of the parks now have designated trails marked with names and rating signs so that visitors can see a degree of difficulty on a particular trail.  There are also trail profiles provided giving a visual snapshot of elevation changes and other features over the length of these designated trails.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “In our Guide to Regional Parks, we’ve always provided a simple rating system for many of our outings in the ‘Take a Hike’ and ‘Explore Your Parks’ programs.   But with a grant from the BC Community Recreation Program dedicated to improving trail signage and the visitor experience in our parks, we’ve been gradually rolling out a uniform trail naming/rating system along with trail profile information.  So a visitor can determine before starting their hike, whether the trail experience will match or perhaps challenge their ability.”

Green circles suggest a very easy/easy outing.  Blue squares provide a more moderate experience, while black diamonds indicate a more difficult or very difficult trail over steep, variable terrain with more obstacles and little maintenance.

Smith adds “Designated trails in Glen Canyon, Kalamoir, Rose Valley, Trepanier Creek Greenway, Johns Family Nature Conservancy, the Mission Creek Greenway and Mission Creek Regional Park all have trail name and rating signage in place.  The ratings are based mainly on slope and distance and provide visitors with a consistency across our park system.  The experience on one trail in one park should be the same with a similarly rated trail in another.”

Trail ratings and profile information is available at information kiosks in these parks as well as for individual park webpages online www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark.  Smith says, “We’ve created some information pages to help explain our trail rating and profile system.  In addition, all our online park trail maps are GPS-enabled.  That means you can use your smartphone or tablet’s internal global positioning system to enhance your experience and navigate our parks and trails.”

Smith says “We’re also very excited about a unique relationship involving our Regional Parks staff and local First Nations.  Park visitors will notice recognition of the syilx/Okanagan culture with the new trail name signs.  We’ve been collaborating for some time now with cultural services staff at Westbank First Nation and Sncəwips Heritage Museum to develop and translate trail names in both English and the Okanagan nsyilxcǝn language.  We’re also starting to install interpretive panels in these areas to further explain the cultural and historical significance of the name in order to raise awareness and provide some context for this important aspect of life in the Central Okanagan.” 

For many years, the Regional District has promoted barrier-free access to its regional parks encouraging opportunities for everyone to get out and explore regional parks.  With the excellent volunteers of CRIS - the Community Recreational Initiatives Society – the Regional Parks system is open to people of all abilities. Contact CRIS www.adaptiveadventures.ca to join in on any Parks Services program.

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Regional Parks Video

Our parks are great to visit at anytime of year.  Check out this new video that shows why!

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Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)